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SUPERMICRO C7Z170-SQ Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: SUPERMICRO

Features and Motherboard Layout

Features

Courtesy of SUPERMICRO

  • Single socket H4 (LGA 1151) supports Intel® 6th Gen. Core i7/i5/i3 series processors
  • Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
  • Up to 64GB Non-ECC UDIMM, DDR4-3200MHz (OC), in 4 DIMM slots
  • Single Gigabit Ethernet LAN port (Intel® i219V)
  • 6 SATA3 (6Gbps); RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  • 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (1 x16 or dual x8), 1 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (x4), 1 PCI-E 3.0 x4, 2 PCI-E 3.0 x1 (in x4) slots
  • 1 PCIe M.2; PCIe x4 2260 / 2280 / 22110
  • 6 USB 3.0 (2 rear + 4 via header), 6 USB 2.0 (2 rear + 4 via headers), 1 USB 3.1 (10Gbps) Type C (rear)
  • 1 DVI-D, 1 DP (Display Port), 1 HDMI
  • HD Audio 7.1 channel connector by Realtek ALC1150
  • UEFI BIOS support

Motherboard Layout

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The SUPERMICRO C7Z170-SQ motherboard features an enthusiast-friendly black and red aesthetic. The audio PCB divider line glows when the board is actively powered, making for a nice effect with the black PCB. SUPERMICRO designed the board layout well with more than adequate room in between all on board components.

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While there are not many exposed chips on the board's backside, there are lines of circuitry along the underside of the CPU VRMs to the left and above the CPU backplate. The circuitry is placed far enough from the backplate that it should not interfere with any CPU cooler mounting mechanism.

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SUPERMICRO includes the following ports integrated into the C7Z170-SQ's rear panel assembly: a PS/2 keyboard / mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, an Intel i219V GigE RJ-45 port, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort video ports, and six analogue audio ports.

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The C7Z170-SQ motherboard has a total of six PCI-Express device ports - three PCI-Express x16 slots, and three PCI-Express x4 slots. For the PCIe x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single, x16/x8 with dual card, and x16/x8/x4 in tri-card mode. Note that the PCIe x4 slots marked PCH slot 5 and PCH slot 1 operate in x1 mode only. Directly above the primaryPCI-Express x16 slot is a system fan header.

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To the right of the primary PCIe x16 slot is the integrated M.2 PCIe x4 slot, supporting M.2 PCIe SSD drives up to 80mm in length. The header labeled JTBT1 just below the secondary PCIe x4 slot is a debug header used for factory validation testing.

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SUPERMICRO designed the audio subsystem on a separate PCB to ensure audio clarity and fidelity. The PCB separator line glows along its length with the board powered, making for a nice effect in-line with the board's color scheme. The front panel audio header is located the upper left corner of the audio PCB. Directly above the secondary PCI-Express x16 slot is the audio enable jumper (JPAC1) and the S/PDIF output header. The audio enable jumper enables the integrated audio headers with the jumper shorting pins 1-2 (default setting).

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Multiple USB 2.0 headers, PCI Slot SMB enable jumpers (JI2C1, JI2C2), OC front panel header, BIOS recover switch (JBR1), and CMOS battery are located in the upper left corner of the board. The BIOS recover switch allows for booting into the BIOS using the secondary BIOS boot block when switched to the left (shorting internal pins 2-3). Pressing the DEL key after system initialization will bring up the main UEFI screen, allowing for BIOS recovery via an attached USB device. The BIOS file must be named SUPER.ROM on the root of the attached USB drive. The OC Front Panel header can be used to connect the board to an optional OC Panel device allowing for board speed and voltage manipulation from the front of the system.

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The onboard USB 2.0 headers, USB 3.0 header, standby power header (JSTBY1), and the manufacturing mode headers (JPME2) are located to the outside of PCIe x16 slot 3. The manufacturing mode headers are used for internal board validation.

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In the lower left corner of the board are the front panel header, a 3-pin power LED header (JLED1), on board speaker and speaker/LED jumper (JD1), 2-digit diagnostic display, serial port header, and and a DOM (Disk-On-Module) power connector (JSD1). The DOM power connector can be used to provide a 5V power feed to a DOM-type SSD device connected to the board's SATA ports. The 2-digit diagnostic display can be used to troubleshoot system initialization issues by cross referencing the displayed code with this PDF file on the AMI support site.

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The Intel Z170 chipset is cooled by a low profile, flat-black colored heat sink. The sink features the SUPERMICRO corporate logo in white and red.

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The board comes standard with six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. To the right of the SATA-Express port block is a USB 3.0 header placed so that the cable sits parallel to the plane of the board when plugged in. All drive ports and the USB 3.0 header are located directly under the chipset.

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The on-board DDR4 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket in the lower right section of the board. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules in like colored slots with the red slots being the primary memory slots. The board supports up to 64GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3200MHz. Note that memory speeds above 2133MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. Directly below the memory port block are a system fan header and the 24-pin ATX power connector.

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To the right of the DIMM slots are the power button, CMOS clear button, BIOS Recovery button, and CPU fan header. The BIOS Recovery button offers another path for automated BIOS recovery, automatically flashing the BIOS from a file on the root of an attached USB device. The BIOS file must be named SUPER.ROM on the root of the attached USB drive.

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The CPU socket area is clear of obstructions in close proximity to the socket with VRM heat sinks above and to the right of the socket. The power chokes, part of the board's 8+1-phase power delivery system, can be seen along the inside edges of the VRM sinks.

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To the upper right of the CPU socket are an 8-pin ATX12V power connector, a system fan header, and the USB wakeup jumper for the rear panel USB ports.


January 8, 2016 | 02:25 PM - Posted by zaodrze244 (not verified)

jumpers everywear and I love it :P

January 8, 2016 | 04:14 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

at least the PCB's not tan ;)

January 8, 2016 | 04:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I wish it was - I love "ugly" boards that look like they're from 15 years ago

January 12, 2016 | 04:33 PM - Posted by zaodrze244 (not verified)

I miss the old school boards in green color

January 8, 2016 | 05:07 PM - Posted by Tucker Smith (not verified)

It does look good. The Superdot logo is a bit cheesy. But it's got the right ins-and-outs and such for a competitively priced Skylake rig. And they had an H170 board involved in some serious overclocking with an i3 (DHENSZJHEN).

http://overclocking.guide/overclocking-non-k-intel-skylake-cpus-performa...

I've been looking to upgrade from an old potato lappy and PS3 and building a Skylake rig seems to be my path. I welcome healthy competition in the motherboard sector. Especially one that doesn't have LEDs (a statement that completely contradicts my stance in this post's opening, [re: complaints about the logo, "Superdot."]).

Although that tan B150 30th anniversary (MSI?)looks nice, I can't see the appeal of a B150 board if it can't push a locked Skylake. It's Z170 or Haswell, right?

Unless you're a Mr. Beefcake Computer that, of course, wouldn't deign to use a SuperMicro component in the first place.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/v63fqs

That's what I'd like to hook up to my living room TV.
1080p.
60Hz.

I can OC it in a couple years. I can swap out the VGA card with the next generation. I'm guessing that, given the trend towards power efficiency, we'll have another card like the 750ti which can be powered solely by PCIe soon and I can make a swap when that one starts to show it's age.

I think there are a few good mobos to fit the bill, and I'd be willing to consider SuperMicro if they build and price smartly.

January 9, 2016 | 02:03 AM - Posted by Hakuren

I was really hoping that if there is one manufacturer then it must be a SuperMicro without red and black motherboard.

Last bastion has fallen! But at least there is plenty of jumpers to play around, ha, ha.

'Gaming motherboard' and 'SuperMicro' in one sentence that's like oxymoron and antichrist combined. :D

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